here we are, midway through the semester, and it feels like we just began. well, at least in terms of the course’s conversations, if not in my winter-weary bones themselves.
as hoped for, we’ve had some vibrant discussions about film, memory, evidence, interpretation, visuality, and truth. the group is an amalgam of comparative humanities and public history folk, which in some ways is the classroom community i’ve been waiting for. i myself was trained in cultural studies, interdisciplinary humanities, museum studies, public history, and then, finally, a traditional history doctorate. among us, we’ve got perspectives on postcolonial theory, memoir writing, indigenous politics and history, journalistic standards, museum education, community history projects, and a rich variety of personal backgrounds. one of us comes from a film studies background, another was a subject of a documentary film in high school. some of us watch doc films whenever possible, some were never really drawn to the form before this term.
even though i connect with each of my students in terms of training or life, or both, i’m finding it a rewarding challenge to structure our conversations in a way in which all are engaged and everyone truly interacts with the ideas of others. most sessions a student leads us through the week’s readings. as they’re doing this, i’m trying to give them the space to make a meaningful contribution to our class while also finding a way to work in my approach to the material. i often joke that it means i’m the class border collie. i love this method. i get so much more from our readings because their ideas structure our conversation rather than my four or five points leading the way. it’s also an opportunity to further develop my feminist pedagogy chops, as i court that sweet, sweet, sweet spot of sharing control, challenging them, and reworking power relationships within the classroom.
and, i’m also trying to blog more myself as i go, both for transparency’s sake, but also to keep our conversations alive all week. as we spend a fair chunk of our time together watching films, it’s nice to let the ideas flow back and forth across the ether throughout the week. i love getting the notification that one of them have written, and it really keeps a circular flow to our movement through the weeks, rather than all of the class energies manifesting only on thursday night.
now, if i could only discipline myself to actually write my posts more than a few hours before our class meeting…